Former Egyptian Army Chief-of-Staff General Sami Anan Is Held At A Military Prison

The former Egyptian army chief-of-staff General Sami Anan, who was detained by the Egyptian authorities on 23 January, is being held at a military prison in Cairo, according to his lawyer on Saturday.

For six days he was incommunicado, after being detained for questioning.

Nasir Amin, Anan’s lawyer said he visited the former chief-of-staff at the military prison at Camp Huchstep in eastern Cairo. Amin said there will be a written statement about the visit on Sunday.

In a televised statement, the army accused Anan of committing several “irregularities” after he announced plans to run for office.

In a video posted on his Facebook account on 19 January, Anan said he will run in the upcoming elections to save Egypt.

However, the campaign has now been suspended after Anan’s arrest.

The former general was summoned by the military for questioning over his candidacy.

The army, which is loyal to Al- Sisi, himself a former general, said that Anan had announced his candidacy “without getting permission from the armed forces” and accused him of failing to formally leave the military before entering politics.

Just as the army statement was released, Anan’s campaign aides said he had been arrested.

“Sami Anan, the presidential candidate, has been arrested,” said Mahmoud Refaat, an Egyptian lawyer acting as a spokesman for Anan.

Anan’s detention appeared to be the latest step of a coordinated campaign to force potential challengers to al-Sisi to abandon the race. If Anan is unable to run it is likely al-Sisi will go into the March elections with no major opponents.

Last week, al-Sisi threatened those who will try to seek the presidential chair, during Hekyat Watan’ [Nation’s story] conference last Friday, al-Sisi threatened all those who will try to reach Egypt’s presidency.

He said while announcing his candidacy, “There are people I know who are corrupt, I will not allow them to come near this chair.”

In the same context,Ahmed Shafik, former President Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, abruptly announced his withdrawal from the race his saying  he was “not the best choice for managing the state’s affairs in the upcoming period.”

Shafik, who has lived in exile with the support of the Emirates since he lost the 2012 Egyptian presidential election, had faced many challenges before he surrendered to compete al-Sisi in the elections.

First, Shafik appeared on Al Jazeera television to say he was being barred from leaving UAE. He said that the leaders of the United Arab Emirates were preventing him from leaving their country, seeking to block him from running again against Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

“I was surprised to find myself prevented from leaving our sister country,” the former general, Ahmed Shafik, said in a videotaped statement from Dubai.

He added,”I reject interventions into the affairs of my country by preventing me from participating in a constitutional process and a sacred national mission.”

Shafik’s daughter said that her father had been prevented from leaving the UAE in previous days but had then received assurances that he could travel freely. She did not specify who gave the assurances.

Later, in a surprise move, Ahmed Shafik was deported from the United Arab Emirates and arrived in Cairo.

His family said earlier they feared he had been “kidnapped”. Sources said he had been picked up by Egyptian authorities at Cairo airport.

Earlier after being deported to Cairo, Shafik’s family said that he had been taken from their home by UAE authorities and flown by private plane back to Cairo.

Days later after being met by Egyptian security services upon arriving in Cairo and promptly disappeared from public view, he re-emerged to say he was no longer running for the elections!

Leaked tapes, which was revealed last week, strongly suggest that Ahmed Shafik abandoned his Egyptian presidential bid after being told that he would be smeared with allegations of sexual misconduct and corruption, sources close to the former prime minister have told Middle East Eye.

MEE’s sources did not divulge the identity of the messenger but said that they had claimed to have videotapes of alleged sexual misconduct and threatened to make Shafik the focus of a corruption investigation.

Sources in the Shafik camp told MEE that the threats were made to force him to abandon his bid for the presidency.

Also, a leaked conversation revealed that an Egyptian secret service agent ordered a prominent TV host to prepare a show reel of footage to discredit former presidential hopeful Ahmed Shafik as a Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer.